QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP has confirmed the RCMP is investigating the shadowy group Vaughan Working Families for potentially breaking the law, and Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce must step up and assist with the investigation with everything they know about the ads — especially since a cozy relationship has been revealed between Ford, Lecce, and the developers behind Vaughan Working Families.
The RCMP told the NDP on Friday they have launched an investigation into Vaughan Working Families’ shadowy ads, which attacked teachers. After the NDP asked Elections Ontario to investigate, Elections Ontario concluded they saw the ads as “apparent contraventions” of the law and asked for a full police investigation to see if charges are necessary.
“Teachers were under attack from the Ford government, and they got some help in that attack from Vaughan Working Families in the form of an advertising blitz. Now the RCMP is investigating the shadowy group called Vaughan Working Families for their part in attacking teachers,” said NDP MPP Peter Tabuns. “Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce should tell Ontarians everything they know about these ads that came directly from their insider donors and buddies.”
Vaughan Working Families’ chair is Michael DeGasperis. On April 24, The Toronto Star revealed that DeGasperis, hosted Ford and Lecce in a private luxury suite in Miami for a Florida Panthers NHL game in December 2018.
The DeGasperis family businesses also stand to profit off at least three Ford government Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs), including one in Brampton, one in Vaughan, and one in Caledon,
DeGasperis and Lecce worked together in Conservative campaigns for over a decade.
**Initial NDP inquiry to RCMP.
- NDP MPP Taras Natyshak wrote Elections Ontario on Feb. 3, 2020 to investigate advertisements attacking teachers placed in newspapers by “Vaughan Working Families.” MPP Peter Tabuns followed up on February 7 following revelations that Quinto Annibale, a PC donor and LCBO Vice President, paid the bills for the advertisements via his law firm Loopstra Nixon.
In a letter, Elections Ontario confirmed on June 24 they completed an initial investigation into Vaughan Working Families and “decided that there has been an apparent contravention of section 37.5 and section 48 of the Election Finances Act by Vaughan Health Campus of Care, a company operating as a business as Vaughan Working Families, by its failure to register with Elections Ontario as a third party.”
- On April 24, 2021, the Toronto Star found that Michael DeGasperis, chairperson of the organization behind Vaughan Working Families, hosted Ford and Lecce in a private luxury suite in Miami to watch a hockey game in December 2018. DeGasperis and Lecce have been long-time buddies, having worked together in Conservative campaigns for over a decade.
- Current MZOs the DeGasperis family businesses stand to reap a windfall from include: